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How to Create a Stopwatch Illustration in Photoshop

How to Create a Stopwatch Illustration in Photoshop

As designer’s it’s important that we broaden our skill sets and explore every feature available to us in our software of choice.

Photoshop offers a vast array of drawing capabilities, and is a fantastic option for those not familiar with Illustrator. In the following tutorial your will learn how to create a stopwatch illustration in Photoshop. Throughout the tutorial you will learn handy tips, advanced drawing techniques, and gain a better understanding of how to master the software you use each day.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Open Photoshop and hit Control + N to create a new document. Enter all the data shown in the following image and click OK. Enable the Grid (View > Show > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap To > Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 10px. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices and focus on the Grid section. Enter 10 in the Gridline Every box and 1 in the Subdivision box. Also, set the color of the grid at #a7a7a7. Once you set all these properties click OK. Don’t get discouraged by all that grid. It will ease your work later. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes.

Step 2

Enable the Rulers (Control + R) and add two simple guides as shown in the following image.

Step 3

Set the foreground color at #a1d8ff and pick the Ellipse Tool. Draw a 240px circle and place it in the middle of your artboard as shown in the first image. Select this vector shape and duplicate it (Control + J). Move to the Layers panel and focus on the bottom vector shape. Select it, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layers Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 4

Select the top, blue circle made in the previous step. Make sure that the Ellipse Tool is still selected, check the Subtract button from the top bar and draw a 200px circle as shown in the first image. Move to the Layers panel, replace the light blue with #d7d7d7 then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following images.




Step 5

Select the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Right click on this copy and go to Clear Layer Style. Select it, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 6

For the next steps you will need a grid every 5px. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices and enter 5 in the Gridline Every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 200px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new vector shape, make sure that the Ellipse Tool is still active, check the Subtract button from the top bar and draw a 190px circle as shown in the second image.

Step 7

Move to the Layers panel and focus on the vector shape made in the previous step. First, replace the blue with #c8c8c8 then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 8

Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 190px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Open the Layers Style window for this new vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following images.





Step 9

Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 180px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Move to the Layers panel, select this new vector shape, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layers Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 10

From now on you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices and enter 1 in the Gridline Every box. Set the foreground color at #141414, create a 2 by 10px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make a copy of this rectangle (Control + J), drag it down and place it as shown in the second image. Move to the Layers panel, select both rectangle and turn them into a smart object.

Step 11

Duplicate the smart object made in the previous step (Control + J). Select this copy and simply go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90°CW. Move to the Layers panel, select both smart objects and turn them into a single smart object.

Step 12

Duplicate the smart object made in the previous step (Control + J). Select this copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Focus on the top bar, enter a 30 degrees angle and hit Enter. Move to the Layers panel and duplicate this rotated smart object (Control + J). Select this copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Focus on the top bar, enter a 60 degrees angle and hit Enter.

Step 13

Set the foreground color at #54a5e8, create a 2 by 5px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make a copy of this rectangle (Control + J), drag it down and place it as shown in the second image. Move to the Layers panel, select both rectangle and turn them into a smart object.

Step 14

Select the smart object made in the previous step and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 6 degrees angle and hit Enter. Move to the Layers panel, make a copy of this smart object (Control + J), select it and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 12 degrees angle and hit Enter. Return to the Layers panel, make a copy of this new smart object (Control + J), select it and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter an 18 degrees angle and hit Enter. Get back to the Layers panel, make a copy of this new smart object (Control + J), select it and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 24 degrees angle and hit Enter.

Step 15

Reselect the four, blue smart objects made in the previous step, turn them into a single smart object and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -30 degrees angle and hit Enter. Move to the Layers panel, select both blue smart objects, turn them into a single smart object then make two copies. Select the first copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 60 degrees angle and hit Enter. Return to the Layers panel, select the other copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -60 degrees angle and hit Enter. Select all these blue smart objects and convert them to single smart object. Open the Layers Style window for this new smart object and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 16

Set the foreground color at #141414 then pick the Type Tool and add the numbers as shown in the first image. Use the Calibri font, set the size at 15pt and the style at Bold. Select all these pieces of text, turn them into a smart object and open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 17

Pick a simple red for the foreground color and grab the Rectangle Tool. Create a 4 by 97px vector shape, place it as shown in the first image and make sure that it stays selected. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool and focus on the bottom side of this red rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 1px to the right then select the right anchor point and move it 1px to the left.

Step 18

Select the vector shape made in the previous step and hit Control + T. Focus on this red shape and you’ll notice a little anchor point in the middle. Hold Shift and drag it in the middle of your artboard as shown in the first image. Finally, simply rotate your red vector shape as shown in the second image.

Step 19

Move to the Layers panel and focus on the vector shape edited in the previous step. First replace the red with #141414 then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 20

Set the foreground color at #141414, pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 14px circle and place it as shown below. Open the Layers Style window for this shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 21

Set the foreground color at #d5cdc3, pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 4px circle and place it as shown below. Open the Layers Style window for this shape and enter the properties shown in the following images.



Step 22

Select the three vector shapes made in the last five steps and duplicate them. Select these copies and turn them into a smart object. Select it, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 23

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Open the Layers Style window for this copy and edit the properties used for the Drop Shadow as shown in the following image.


Step 24

Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 55px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 25

Focus on the circle made in the previous step. Set the foreground color at #141414, create a two, 2 by 4px vector shapes and place them as shown in the following image. Move to the Layers panel, select both rectangle and turn them into a smart object.

Step 26

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 60 degrees angle and hit Enter. Reselect the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this new copy and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -60 degrees angle and hit Enter. Pick the Type Tool and add some new numbers as shown in the fifth image. Use the Calibri font, set the size at 8pt and the style at Bold.

Step 27

Pick a simple red for the foreground color and grab the Rectangle Tool. Create a 4 by 43px vector shape, place it as shown in the first image and make sure that it stays selected. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool and focus on the top side of this red rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 2px to the right then grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool and remove the top, right anchor point. In the end your vector shape should look like in the second image. Select it and rotate it as shown in the third image.

Step 28

Move to the Layers panel and focus on the vector shape made in the previous step. First replace the red with #141414 then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 29

Set the foreground color at #141414, pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 10px circle and place it as shown below. Open the Layers Style window for this shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 30

Set the foreground color at #f0eae3, pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 2px circle and place it as shown below. Open the Layers Style window for this shape and enter the properties shown in the following images.



Step 31

Select the three vector shapes made in the last four steps and duplicate them. Select these copies and turn them into a smart object. Select it, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 32

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Open the Layers Style window for this copy and edit the properties used for the Drop Shadow as shown in the following image.


Step 33

Move to the Layers panel and duplicate the vector shape made in the eighth step. Select this copy, clear the layer style and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following images.





Step 34

Select the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, clear the Layer Style, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 35

Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, set the radius at 3px, create a 24 by 30px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select it and go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Arc Lower from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 25 in the Bend box, hit Enter then go again to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Arc Upper from the Warp drop-down menu, enter -10 in the Bend box and hit Enter.

Step 36

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape made in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images. When you get to the Gradient Overlay section make sure that you save that complex gradient using the New button.




Step 37

Focus on the top side of the vector shape edited in the previous step. Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, make sure that the radius is set at 3px, create a 30 by 20px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select it and go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Arc Lower from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 20 in the Bend box and hit Enter.

Step 38

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape made in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images. For the Gradient Overlay section you need to use the gradient saved in the thirty-sixth step.



Step 39

Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 30 by 6px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Open the Layer Style window for this new shape and enter the properties shown in the following images. Again, for the Gradient Overlay section use the gradient saved in the thirty-sixth step.



Step 40

Set the foreground color at #d7d7d7, pick the Ellipse Tool, create an 80px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new vector shape, make sure that the Ellipse Tool is still active, check the Subtract button from the top bar and draw a 68px circle as shown in the second image.

Step 41

Select the vector shape made in the previous step and focus on the bottom side. Pick the Rectangle Tool, check the Subtract button from the top bar and draw a 22 by 10px vector shape as shown in the first image. Make sure that this vector shape stays selected and switch to the Ellipse Tool. Pick the Ellipse Tool, check the Add button from the top bar and add two, 6px circles as shown in the second image.

Step 42

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape edited in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images.





Step 43

Focus on the bottom side of the vector shape edited in the previous step. Set the foreground color at black, pick the Ellipse Tool, create two, 6px circles and place them as shown in the first image. Open the Layer Style window for the left circle and enter the properties shown in the second image then open the Layer Style window for the right circle and enter the properties shown in the third image. Move to the Layers panel, select both circles and drag them below the vector shape edited in the previous step.



Step 44

Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, set the radius at 3px and create a 16 by 18px vector shape. Select it and go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Arc Lower from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 30 in the Bend box, hit Enter then go again to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Arc Upper from the Warp drop-down menu, enter -10 in the Bend box and hit Enter. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following images. Again, for the Gradient Overlay section use the saved gradient.




Step 45

Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, make sure that the radius is set at 3px, create a 20 by 20px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select it and go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Select Bulge from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 15 in the Bend box and hit Enter. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following images. Once again, for the Gradient Overlay section use the saved gradient. Move to the Layers panel and turn this vector shape into a smart object.

Step 46

Next, you need to create your own simple pattern. First, hit Control + N to create a new document. Enter 2 in the width and height boxes and click OK. Start by deleting the "Background" layer from the Layers panel. Set the foreground color at black and grab the Rectangle Tool. Create a 1 by 2px vector path and place it as shown in the following image. Now, simply go to Edit > Define Pattern. Pick a name for your pattern, click OK and you got your pattern. Close this document (no need to save it) and return to the first one.

Step 47

Select the smart object made in forty-fifth step, open the Layers Style Window and enter the properties shown in the following images.




Step 48

Select the vector shape and the smart object made in the last four steps and turn them into a smart object. Select it and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 30 degrees angle and click OK. Select this rotated smart object and place it as shown in the third image.

Step 49

Pick the Polygon Tool and focus on the top bar. Enter 4 in the Sides box then click on the little, black arrow to open the Polygon Options menu. Check the star box then enter a 10px radius and a 85% indent. Set the foreground color at white and create a simple star shape as shown in the following image.

Step 50

Select the star shape made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Place these little vector shapes as shown in the first image then turn them into a simple smart object. Select it and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1.5px radius and click OK.

Step 51

Duplicate all the shapes created so far. Select these copies and turn them into a smart object. Select it, send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ), lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 52

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, open the Layer Style window and edit the Drop Shadow as shown in the following image.


Step 53

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, open the Layer Style window and edit the Drop Shadow as shown in the following image.


Step 54

Select the smart object made in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following images.



Step 55

Next, you need to load a simple selection around the steel components of your stopwatch. Here’s a quick way you can do it. Focus on the Layers panel, select all the steely pieces and duplicate them. Select these copies and turn them to a single smart object. Now, hold Control and click on this smart object (in the Layers panel). This should load your selection. Make sure that it stays active, create a new layer (Shift + Control + Alt + N) and select it. Set the foreground color at black, pick the Paint Bucket Tool and simply click inside your selection. In the end it should look like in the second image. Get rid of that selection (Control + D) then select the smart object made in the beginning of the step and simply delete it.

Step 56

Select the layer made in the previous step, lower the Fill to 0% and open the Layer Style window. Activate the Color section, set the blending mode to Color, lower the opacity to 50% and pick golden yellow (#ffd76b) for the color. This is a pretty easy way for you to recolor this stopwatch. Obviously, you can use different colors or you can increase/decrease the opacity percentage.



Step 57

Finally, let’s add a simple background. Hit Shift + Control + Alt + N to create a new layer. Select it, send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ) then fill it with #505050 using the Paint Bucket Tool. Open the Layer Style window for this new layer and enter the properties shown in the following image.


Step 58

Focus on the Layers panel and turn the layer made in the previous step into a smart object. Select it and go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and you’re done.

And We’re Done!

Here is how your final result should look.

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About the Author:

I spend most of my time working in Adobe Illustrator and I have my own website that focuses on this program. So far, I published over 150 tutorials on my websites and on other vector-related websites. You can see them all on VForVectors

Leave a comment

6 Comments:

  1. Bob says:

    Excellent! very well prepared and great presentation. I would recommend that people trying this name the layers with the Step Number the layer(s) were created in. Makes going back much easier. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
    Bob.

  2. susie says:

    Detailed, has shortcuts and the step by step images certainly help :)

  3. Benky says:

    I really love this tut, it’s not difficult to complete. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Benky

  4. john thomas says:

    impressive tut. If only others were so easy to understand. Couple of things i would have changed but overall great work.
    Thankyou dood !!!!

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